The Pacific Northwest State of Oregon is known for people who rock socks with sandals, rainy days, and most of all, it’s beautiful scenery. Between the rugged coastlines, old growth forests, sandy deserts, and snow capped mountains, it’s easy to see why Oregon is a prime elopement destination.
Whether you live on the West Coast or you’re traveling to Oregon for your first time – keep reading this elopement guide to learn everything you need to know about how to elope in Oregon.
Set an Elopement Date
Your elopement date in Oregon will depend on a few factors; such as weather/seasons and crowds – depending on what type of wedding day experience you want!
Oregon Weather for Eloping
Before you set your elopement date, do some research about weather in the Pacific Northwest! There’s a wide range of weather and seasons across this large State, so the best time to elope will depend on your location, what type of scenery you desire, and what kind of experience you want!
Weather and Seasons
Mountainous regions of the Oregon stay buried in snow until about July, so the best time for an alpine hiking elopement would be summer. Although, hiking during the off-seasons to destinations that are not at high elevations are super doable October through April – it may just be a bit muddy if it rains!
Desert locations like Bend and the Alvord Desert however, are very hot in the summer, so spring or fall will be your best bet for moderate weather.
Oregon Coastal locations stay more temperate year round, but rainy season is usually October through March. If you are interested in eloping in the off-season, you might enjoy this winter elopement post!
The best part about eloping in Oregon is that you can definitely elope at any time of the year and almost always experience moderate weather!
Avoiding Crowds in Oregon
Most couples want a secluded spot to say their vows, without running into other park visitors or tourists. To guarantee a little more privacy, consider eloping in the off season – which in Oregon is anytime except the summer! Rain can make for gorgeous photos, so if you aren’t afraid to get drizzled on, rain also is great for clearing out crowds and can make for such a unique adventure!
If you aren’t wanting to worry so much about unpredictable weather, I highly recommend that couples elope on the weekdays, especially Monday through Thursday. Most people are off work on weekends, so those days draw out more crowds to parks and natural areas. Eloping on a weekday will give you much more privacy!
Choose an Oregon Elopement Location
With so many beautiful places to choose from, narrowing down the perfect spot in Oregon to say your vows might just be the hardest part! Here are a few different options to get you inspired, but if you get stuck along the way – I’ll be here to help you choose.
Oregon Mountain Elopement location
There are lot of mountains in Oregon, so you can choose either a quick, easily accessible location or opt for a longer hike depending on the type of adventure you want! The best elopement locations in Oregon for those who want a mountain backdrop are :
- mt. hood national forest – mt. hood
- three sisters wilderness – mount bachelor and south sister
- steens mountain wilderness – steens mountain
- eagle cap wilderness – chief joseph mountain
Oregon Forest Elopements
There’s something so magical about walking through the forest, with trees towering all around you, maybe a mist sitting on top of the trees. Oregon is famously known for its amazing Douglas Firs and moss covered landscapes. There are even some Redwoods in Oregon! Check out Loeb State Park in Oregon for Redwood trees.
There is also plenty of gorgeous parks near Portland and 11 National Forests located in Oregon. From desert to coast, there’s plentiful of trees to explore!
Oregon Coast Elopements
Because Oregon is bordered on the west side by the Pacific Ocean, rocky beaches and rugged coastlines that line this State are unique and breathtaking – perfect for an elopement. Oregon’s coast is known for places like Cape Kiwanda (featured below) and Cannon Beach, both popular locations surrounded by cute beach towns. I personally have spent hundreds of hours exploring up and down the Oregon Coast and there are SO many hidden gems that are worth exploring! There’s always something new to explore.
If you are wanting to elope on the Coast more near Portland, my next favorite areas are hidden gems near Cannon Beach or Newport. Just know that the Northern Coast is much more trafficked and eloping on during the week vs. weekend will hinder your experience during the summer.
My absolute favorite part of the Coast, is Southern Oregon Coast. Not only does is stay about 10 degrees warmer all year round, but it is also much sunnier!
Oregon Desert Elopements
When you think of an Oregon elopement, you probably imagine towering mountains and thick forests, but did you know that Oregon also features desert terrain? For a boho, desert background, check out the town of Bend, Painted Hills, Alvord Desert, or Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation Area.
If you want to learn more about the Alvord Desert and Hot Springs, check out the post here.
Oregon Waterfall Elopements
The Columbia River Gorge in Oregon has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America – so if you’re hoping to elope in front of a waterfall, look no further! You can choose from easily accessible waterfalls like Latourell Falls, short hikes like Wahclella Falls, or longer trails such as Silver Falls (this one encompasses 10 waterfalls!)
Multnomah Falls is very popular as well, but it’s not my first choice for elopements due to high crowds and being so close to the highway. If you are set on this location, make sure to go early at sunrise to beat the tourists.
If you are not only wanting waterfalls, but forest and the coast too – I know some amazing beaches that will encompass all of these!
Oregon Wildflower Locations
If you aren’t set on eloping in Oregon yet, this gorgeous State also provides some pretty amazing wildflowers. Although the wildflower season varies each year, the typical best time for catching the flowers is between late April through mid May. Some of my favorite locations for wildflowers in Oregon is the Columbia River Gorge, Eagle Creek Wilderness, Mount Hood National Forest, and Bend.
There’s even the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival that runs through April-May that offers a gorgeous place to elope at + hot air balloon rides!
Research Marriage Laws
Marriage laws vary by state, but Washington and Oregon are very similar. When you elope in the PNW, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license. You can do this by mail or in person, and send your application to any county clerk’s office. You’ll also need an officiant and two witnesses.
Here is the official website for rules and requirements, but you will need to look at your particular county where you will be holding your ceremony.
Oregon requires an officiant to sign your marriage license. You have a few options for this! You can hire an elopement officiant who is up for whatever adventure you have planned, or you can ask a friend or family member to marry you!
Getting ordained is super easy, and free, so if you have a friend or someone you want to officiate your ceremony, all they need to do is go to ULC.org, sign up, and that’s it! Now they can perform marriage ceremonies and sign marriage licenses anywhere in the US. I am also ordained through ULC, so if you want something a bit more simple and private, I don’t charge any extra for this service.
Like most US states, Oregon both require two witnesses to sign your marriage license. But, don’t worry yet if your elopement plan doesn’t include guests! Anyone over 18 can sign as a witness, so your photographer and any other vendors will be able to serve as witnesses. You can also find two people at your trailhead or your ceremony spot to sign – people are always stoked to help out!
Book Your Vendors
A good team of vendors will make all the difference when it comes to your Oregon elopement. Planning even a small ceremony can be stressful, and most couples don’t really know where to start. Vendors can take the pressure off of you, so that you can focus on what really matters – being in love and getting married! Here are some great vendors in Oregon who can guide you to the perfect elopement day.
If you do decide to hire me as your photographer, you’ll receive even more personalized vendor recommendations that are specific to your elopement location in Oregon than the ones you see here.
Check out this blog post to learn more about my Portland preferred florists.
Ready to Elope in Oregon?
Are you sold on an Oregon elopement yet?! There are so many unbelievably beautiful places, you really can’t go wrong! As a local Oregon elopement photographer, I love helping badass couples like you plan their unique, custom crafted elopement day. So if you’re ready to get started with your Oregonian expert, fill out my contact form here and we’ll get chatting.
When you book with me, you will also receive a detailed “How to Elope” guide that entails every step of your elopement process and vendors specific to your area and adventure. It’s pretty dAMN cool!
If you want a sneak peek of what your elopement steps will look like, go check out this post on How to Elope.